Honestly. What is the point of this? I have so many things that I’d rather be doing in my spare time than going out in the public to do some stupid service learning project. Those were the exact words that flowed through my head while the assignment was being explained to the class. Even though I was not excited about this project in the least bit, I knew that it had to be done and it had to be done right. I was really hoping to work with kids and bring in a cool black light to show them some germs.However, I overheard another group talking about going to some daycare and that idea went out the window. Our group came up with the idea to speak with the elderly about Urinary Tract Infections.
“Perfect, How hard could talking to a group of old people be? I stated to the group. Now that the service learning project is done I have such a different outlook on this assignment. I feel this assignment opened my eyes and gave me some great communication skills that will be sure to help me in the future.I am thankful that we chose to do our project with elderly people. It was a beautiful morning and I was prepared and ready to do the service learning project.
We all met outside of the assisted living center and went over the basics: Speak clearly, Talk slowly and of course we all tripled check to make sure we had our notes. Great! Everyone is prepared for this. Should be smooth sailing form here is what I was thinking walking in the building.Speaking with the elders made me realize that although the older appear different does not mean that they do not comprehend what you are saying and just like every other human being there are subjects that will be uncomfortable for them to talk about. If not even more uncomfortable because back in the day when they were growing up things were a lot more personal and private than they are today.
There was a person in our group that used the words adult diapers and we all just stopped and knew at that exact moment those were probably not the right choice of words to use.However this is when my outlook of the assignment changed. On the spot those words could have came out of any of our mouths it just happened not to be me for once. The phrase “Adult Diapers” will always be in the back of my mind every time I am with an older patient and I have the Service Learning Project to thank.
I will always take a few seconds to take a step back and think about each patient or person I am about to communicate with.